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Oct 16

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Muddying the Waters…in Minnesota Rivers

Urban drainage, eroding bluffs and muddy water in the Minnesota River watershed—listen up:

Shawn Schottler sediment cores

Shawn Schottler with sediment cores from MN’s Richardson Lake (via Science Museum of Minnesota)

The river banks in the Minnesota River watershed are made up of sediment that gradually washes away. Erosion is a natural process, but in excess, sediment can block light to plants and smother aquatic life.

Now, it’s happening at a surprising pace—with perhaps an equally surprising cause.

Shawn Schottler, a senior scientist with the Science Museum of Minnesota, says the pace of erosion in the watershed is picking up, with rivers widening five times faster than a century ago.

He blames modern drainage systems, which remove water from streets, parking lots and fields as quickly as possible and send it rushing into streams and rivers.

“This artificial drainage is directly contributing to widening of the rivers,” he explains.

What to do about manic erosion? Slowing the flow from drains is a critical way to help protect the watershed.

 Get schooled:

The fine print:

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/agricultural-runoff/muddying-the-waters-in-minnesota-rivers/